Express journalists urge Desmond to halt 'unsustainable' cutbacks which will leave titles 'dead in the water'

Journalists at Express Newspapers have urged owner Richard Desmond to halt cuts which will see the businesss team reduced to one,  TV pages completely outsourced and regionalised sport pages stopped.

Express Newspapers is currently seeking to cut 200 editorial jobs reducing total headcount (full and part-time) to 450.

Press Gazette understands that the voluntary redundancy total is still short of 100 and that management now wants to proceed with compulsory job cuts.

Today the National Union of Journalists chapel at Express Newspapers unanimously passed a motion which warned management “there is no sustainable plan for these titles”.

New cutbacks revealed this week will “render our ability to produce quality journalism of the breadth and depth vital in any national titles dead in the water”, the chapel warned.

Daily Express City pages will be entirely outsourced to an external provider under plans revealed this week.

The chapel motion states: “What was once a vibrant, respected department, producing content valued by readers, is being reduced to a single person reporting to the newsdesk.”

Regionalised sports pages are to be scrapped under changes revealed this week.

The motion said: “If there is no real commitment to the future of these titles, if there is no interest beyond managing their decline using measures that will only hasten their demise, then it is time for the company to actively seek new buyers prepared to turn these papers around.”

According to management, the editors of the Daily and Sunday Express (Hugh Whittow and Martin Townsend) have said they are happy with more than 90 per cent of the changes in the cuts plan – the NUJ motion states.

Journalists have urged the editors “to use their influence to stand up for their staff, for the integrity of journalism under their watch, and for the very future of once-proud titles”.

The motion said: “This chapel reaffirms its commitment to fighting to protect journalists being put under intolerable stress as a consequence of these cuts.

“Already we are seeing a growing number of cases of mounting workload pressures that are resulting in unacceptable stress

and ill-health among members. All possible measures will be considered by this chapel to ensure that staff do not shoulder the cost of these short-sighted cuts.”

Some £3.5m of editorial savings are said to have been found so far, but Express Newspapers management is said to want to double this figure.

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